Ragdoll (ragdoll987) wrote,
Ragdoll
ragdoll987

Breaking Points - Chapter Four

Title: Breaking Points
Author: Ragdoll
Pairing: Kirk/Spock
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine, more's the pity.

Summary: When the Enterprise is asked to transport Vulcan colonists to their new home, Spock Prime comes with them. His presence changes everything – even the things Jim isn’t sure he wants to change.

A/N: Thank you to everyone again for all the wonderful reviews! It’s really keeping me motivated to stick to my promised post schedule! Again, for anyone wondering, it looks like eight chapters in total, and there is a planned sequel I’m two chapters into now. Oh, and a few people have asked if friending is kosher, and anyone who wants to: feel free! I’m flattered!

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three

Breaking Points
Chapter Four

By: Ragdoll / Keshka

Summary: There are dinner dates and then there are dinner dates.


The next day dawned bright and early and completely new for Jim Kirk. He couldn’t remember ever having a better rest and wondered if the old Vulcan had put some sort of sleep suggestion somewhere in his head, because he felt as refreshed as if he’d just gone on two weeks leave, and then some.

But looking at the chronometer told him that it probably had little to do with Vulcan mind melds, and more to do with the length of time he’d been in bed. It was 0700 ships time, the following morning, which would make it almost twenty-two hours he’d been sleeping.

Wow, melding really takes it out of a guy.

His alarm wasn’t due to go off for another half-hour, so instead of the usual sonic shower he preferred he opted for a water shower, far more luxurious and no less cleansing. He even ended up singing something, probably horrendous and terribly off-key, but utterly pleasing to his ears, as he finished his morning ablutions and leisurely saw to his grooming.

Today was going to be a good day. He could feel it.

The bridge was bright and chipper when he stepped onto it, the morning shift crew just beginning to drift in, looking sleepy but cheerful as he greeted each of them with wide grins. Spock was already there, as usual, and he clapped the man on the shoulder before remembering that Vulcans didn’t like to be touched. Oh, hell, Spock could shrug him off if he didn’t like it.

“Good morning, Mr. Spock,” he said happily. “Anything to report?”

“Negative, sir. Ship remains on course, ship status remains unchanged. All is quiet.”

“Excellent.” He turned and strolled down to his command chair, noting the one person on the bridge who appeared grouchy and sour was standing right next to it. Not even the thought of Bones nagging at him to come in for an exam could bother him today.

“Morning, Bones!” He boomed, giving the doctor a good knock on the shoulder with his fist. The man frowned at him and rubbed his arm, glowering. “What brings you to this neck of the woods?”

“You do,” his chief of medicine told him bluntly, looking thoroughly put out to find his captain in such a congenial mood. “Spock contacted me yesterday and told me not to disturb you; a suggestion I would have ignored if the ship’s sensors didn’t confirm that you were sleeping like a baby. But I don’t believe that pointy-eared-elf’s story for a second. Alien telepathic rituals my ass; right up there with flying pigs –“

“Bones,” he said sternly, frowning with mock-severity. “Would Spock lie to you? I mean, Spock? Really? There’s never been a more honest man, so I guess you never know, maybe pigs really can f-“

“You mean to tell me you let some Vulcan Ambassador you don’t even know, who could be anything from a mental head case to some, some psychopath – muck around in your brain?” Looking utterly horrified, McCoy hissed out the last in a furious whisper, and Jim frowned, glancing down at the rest of the bridge crew, all of whom seemed too busy to note the ship’s surgeon dressing down their captain. All save Spock, who, though sitting quietly at his station, was staring at them intently, obviously privy to every word being spoken. Jim winked at him conspiratorially and got a raised eyebrow in return.

“Psychopath, Bones? I think you’ve been reading too many intergalactic mystery novels.” He raised his hand in sharp rebuke when McCoy opened his mouth to give him a scathing comeback, and said, “All right! All right. I’ll come by sickbay after shift if that will make you feel better, but take my word, and Spock’s, for it doctor – I am one hundred percent A-okay. Got it?”

Looking far from reassured, his old friend scowled at him mutinously. “Right after shift. No dallying behind or dodging out with excuses about how the Vulcans are making you scrub floors or serve dishes or any crap like that.”

“No crap,” he agreed, and sent the good doctor on his way.

The day passed slowly, and Jim tried not to think that it might be because of his dinner appointment tonight. He tried not to think about the opportunities that could be afforded to him, talking to someone who knew him - rather, who had known him, this other him - well enough to transfer over some of the mans memories, for God’s sake. Memories from a timeline that no longer existed in the same reality as theirs. He shivered. Totally bizarre, but nonetheless very exciting (provided those memories weren’t randomly popping up in his brain).

He did stop by sickbay after shift, as promised, but he hadn’t lied to his old friend – the readings showed perfectly normal, better than normal even. After grumbling and growling about the stupidity of certain commanding officers who couldn’t see the inherent dangers in letting other people wriggle their telepathic fingers in his head – and may it be his own ass in the fire when this came back to bite him, as Bones seemed pretty sure it would – he made his escape, scrambling into civilian clothing and making for the passenger quarters. Bones probably had a point, and if it were any species but a Vulcan who’d done the deed, he might have had more to say about it. But the fact of the matter was that not only did the remaining Vulcans have the positive regard of pretty much every Starfleet higher-up that ever existed – if only for PR purposes – but they were also considered one of the few races for whom telepathic contact was a sanctioned experience. That’s what being one of the founding members of the Federation could do, Jim supposed.

Ambassador Spock was waiting for him when Jim arrived at his quarters, dressed in pressed black Vulcan robes, and he smiled to see the man looking so proper. This was about the least rigid Vulcan he knew (not that he knew many) and it seemed somehow strange for him to ascribe to the Vulcan custom of formality.

“Good evening,” he said jauntily, and the other turned to look at him, not smiling, but with the squint at the corner of his eyes that meant he was smiling. How Jim knew that he wasn’t quite sure, but he filed it away for future conversations.

“Good evening, Jim. I trust you slept well?”

“Yep. I get the feeling I have you to thank for some of that. I haven’t got anything planned tonight; I was thinking maybe a meal in the one of the rec. rooms. What do you think?”

“Perhaps a meal in one of the rec. rooms and then a game of chess? It was an old ritual between myself and another Captain of the Enterprise I once knew, and I find that in time I have grown to – miss it.”

Fascinated by this subtle detail that seemed to reveal so much, he pressed for more. “Oh? In the place you come from, how long have I…?”

“That,” the older man admonished, “is something that, as I am sure you are aware, I will not tell you. Nor is it likely to happen in quite the same way in this universe. Rest assured that if I feel it is in your best interest to know, I will tell you. But that will have to rest on my judgement.”

Jim grinned cheekily. “Can’t blame me for trying.”

“Indeed not. Dinner?”

Dinner was a quick affair overall. They met Sulu and Uhura briefly, and Jim was surprised at the level of discomfort he now felt in the presence of his communications officer. It wasn’t as though he and Spock – either Spock – had done anything indecent that might have any impact whatsoever on their relationship, but something itched beneath his skin that didn’t sit quite right as he watched the Ambassador speak with her.

They were conversing in Vulcan, and Jim had no idea what was being said; he was bemused at how okay he was with that. Normally he wanted to butt in on every conversation, every point of interest, that he didn’t understand or was being blocked out of. Oh well. Truth be told, maybe it was just that he’d rather not be privy to their conversation. For all he knew, it was ancient Vulcan love poetry about how they’d grown old together and so on and so forth. The thought annoyed him enough that he spent the final half of the conversation flagrantly flirting with Uhura, a fact that she seemed to endure with gritted teeth and polite disdain.

They took a quick tour of the ship’s gardens next, and it was interesting to see Spock move like a man who knew the basic layout of where he was going, but as though it was a long-ago, much beloved experience. He looked like a man happily reacquainting himself with an old friend. Only this time the friend in question happened to be an inanimate object.

When they finally returned to his quarters, Jim’s and not the others because of the presence of T’Sai, their chess game actually got set aside in favor of sharing a quiet drink – a spicy alcoholic beverage from Rigel III for Jim, and a Human fruit juice for Spock.

Jim had resisted asking all night long, but now that they were in complete privacy, he couldn’t help it. He had to know.

“So,” he said with a devilish grin, “tell me about him.”

The aged Vulcan raised an amused eyebrow. “To whom are you referring?”

“Oh, please. Like you don’t know. Tell me what it was about that James Kirk that so drew you to him that you established a relationship against the strictures of Vulcan society. To accomplish that, I’m sure he had to be at least half as charming as I am.”

Spock gave him such a look of intense contemplation that Jim blinked, almost sloshing his drink, and sat up out of the relaxed recline he’d fallen into. “You speak like a man who remains unsure how such a relationship could ever occur for him.”

“Well I –“ Caught off guard, he fumbled for a flippant response, finally settling on, “Well, it could hardly be said that my first officer and I get along with ease, by any stretch of the imagination.”

“Oh? What would you call the conversation that took place between you last night?”

He coughed, having been caught in the process of sipping his beverage. After clearing his lungs, Jim stared at him, astounded. “How the hell did you know about that? Were you monitoring us through the ship’s sensors?”

“No. I merely extrapolate based on what I would have done if it were my captain, regardless of our personal relationship to one another. Can you tell me that the conversation – that undoubtedly followed his badgering you into speaking – was the sort of discussion that would persuade you he is an unsuitable choice for a committed relationship?”

“Committed - what?” Jim sputtered, jerking upright in astonishment and cursing when his drink slopped over onto his hand. Patting it dry with a nearby cloth, he glared at the other Vulcan, certain he was being mocked. But there was no laughing light in those dark eyes, nor anything but an intently questioning expression on his face. Jim felt his own expression slip into blankness as the implications became clear to him.

“Are you trying to tell me that you… that you and he – that Spock and I –“

“Nothing is certain. And I cannot, of course – or perhaps will not – tell you the course that my life took with my James Kirk. But I will tell you this. There is more, dearly more, to your Spock, and to you, than you can possibly imagine at this moment in time. What you two will be to each other, if you will only open your minds to the possibilities, will be more definitive and more life altering than any other relationship or experience you will encounter in your admittedly intriguing and unique life.” The elder paused, regarding his drink, and Jim could think of absolutely nothing to say, witty or otherwise.

“Even now,” the man continued softly, “I know that my young self struggles to assimilate the terrible events that have obliterated the life he knew, and that soon he must approach someone to help him find closure. My age provides me experience enough that I no longer require assistance, but in a world that you will never know, my captain provided that closure for me, that presence with which to anchor myself. I cannot tell you how to make this happen between you two. I can only tell you that, if you are willing to take the chance, it will be worth whatever sacrifice you must make, whatever price must be paid, to see it through.”

Jim stared at him, suddenly unwilling to hear any more, and yet needing to know the rest. “You’re talking like Spock and I are some kind of – of soul mates, or lifemates, or some – whatever. That’s a load of crap. There’s no such thing as fate, or destiny, or whatever it is you want to call, and if you –“

“You have had your entire life altered by a Romulan bent on revenge; your entire history rewritten, from the day of your birth until the day of your meeting with the people who will shape your future. And yet somehow you have all found your way to one another, despite the astronomical chances of it happening, despite the changes in this timeline whose ripples are even now expanding. And even knowing this, even as aware of the improbability as you are, you do not believe in even the most remote strand of destiny, of predetermination?”

“No,” Jim said flatly, though when you put it like that it did sound just a tiny bit plausible. A very tiny bit.

“Ah. Well, if you cannot believe in fate, I encourage you to have faith in your own good judgement. I believe that my other self will soon see the merits of the relationship I have encouraged him to seek out, and when he does, I hope that you will be as receptive to it as he will need you to be.”

“You act like you know me,” Jim said, frustrated, incensed at having his own ability to make decisions, to impact his own life, so easily put aside. “But you don’t, really. You knew some – some copy of me in another future, or timeline, or something, and I don’t doubt that he was as real to you as this drink in my hand or this table is to me, but we’re not one and the same. We’re different people. How can you encourage him to seek me out when you can’t even –“

“We have touched minds, James Kirk, in more than just this life – but this life will suffice for now. I have seen the man you are, and in some ways, the man you will be. A meld is as intimate a knowing as any other experience you can imagine – it is the ultimate lowering of barriers. I have touched the mind of my friend in you, and I find it as pleasing as it has always been – as I always have.”

Oddly and increasingly disturbed – not to mention unbalanced by the surprisingly emotional tone to the older mans speech – Jim did what he always did when faced with an untenable situation. He poked it with a sharp stick. “That doesn’t in any way mean you know me.” He made sure to scoff, sneering in a way he’d designed specifically to get under Bones’ skin in as short a time as possible.

But Spock was unmoved, his aged face serene, his pale hair in sharp contrast to his dark eyes. It took everything Jim had to hold that placid gaze, root his feet firmly on the ground and not turn away.

“I do know you,” the other said, in as gentle a voice as a Vulcan was capable of. “Perhaps better than you know yourself.”

“Now that would be a neat trick. You think that just because we’ve – we’ve mentally held hands, or whatever, you think because you were friends with him, and you think you saw him in me, you –“

“If knowing someone can be defined as understanding a person as deeply as they understand themself, the paths they walk and those still to come, then I think we are both aware that I more than meet those requirements. In another life, I walked those paths with you. I find that though the feeling is a selfish one, I cannot help but envy my other self for the adventures that await him at your side; as if he has always been there and always will.” The words were eloquent, but the tone was clouded with a distant wistfulness, so remarkably fragile that the angry words that immediately bubbled to Jim’s mouth stuttered and clogged his throat like dull sandpaper. There was a grief here, so quietly expressed and so very vast that it made Jim ache in a way that felt terrible and foreign. Sadness, loss, cut him to the marrow of his bones like a blade and tears from another life leapt to his eyes, unbidden. He blinked, startled.

Not only foreign, this, but alien. Unreal. Salt water pricking at his eyes with anguish that wasn’t his own. He jerked away from the older man, stumbling blind and winded, one arm raised as though to ward off a blow.

The grief, so real, as fresh as a newly drawn wound, faded out as sharply as it had come, and in its absence, Jim felt both bereft and relieved. And ridiculous, standing there in a classic defensive position, ready to fight heavy fists, Klingons, and Romulans, when all that truly remained to fight was his own emotional turmoil.

“Forgive me.” He looked up, blinking away the tears until they vanished unshed. Ambassador Spock’s visage was once again a mask of calm and tranquility. “We – that is, your counterpart and I, in the original timeline, were very attuned to one another. In general, Vulcans are touch telepaths only, but between individuals of close association that is not always true. I had not intended to project my psyche to you in such a manner. I apologize.”

Jim stared him guardedly, not at all sure that he liked the idea of a telepath being ‘in-tune’ to him or his thoughts, especially since, as a psi-limited Human, he had no defense against that sort of contact. Not that he didn’t trust Spock, but if this was in any way generally applicable to the average telepath he happened to stumble across… the implications to him would be endless, and none of them good.

“Please do not concern yourself that other Vulcans, or even my younger self, will possess the same affinity to you. Becoming familiar with the emanations one mind creates takes a great deal of time, and familiarity. I know nothing of your emotions; if anything, the risk is mine, as I have projected to you, rather than the reverse.”

Jim pulled further away, far from reassured. “So you can’t get a handle on my emotions, fine… are you reading my thoughts then?”

“No,” Spock said, and Jim watched as a smile, small but quite obvious and tangible, graced the other mans lips. “Our long friendship has given me insights aside from the telepathic. I need not read your mind, as it is by far less taxing to read your face.”

“That simple, is it?” Jim asked dubiously, trying to school said face into blankness. Anxiety pulled at his composure, anxiety he suppressed. There were good reasons he usually avoided getting involved in relationships deep enough to allow the sort of familiarity Spock was implying. Reasons like personal privacy, a healthy fear of commitment, and terminal self-interest.

“You have been accused of many things in your lifetime, Jim, but simple shall never be numbered among them.”

Jim opened his mouth to blow the whole thing off with some sort of sarcastic aside, certain that this conversation was getting far too serious for his liking, but –

“Prove it,” he found himself saying, his natural curiosity, his need to know and be given answers, momentarily outweighing his need to distance himself from this potentially volatile emotional scenario. “Tell me something about myself you think proves you know me better than anyone else.” Than any lover, or brother, or mother, or friend. Tell me Spock, because I don’t believe it.

The Ambassador gazed at him, a gentle, compassionate cast to his features that put every instinct for self-preservation Jim had on alert. He tensed, all his command training screaming desperate mayday signs at him.

“I know what happened to you on Tarsus IV.”

The world stopped.

That’s what it felt like, anyway, as those words crawled their way through his brain like acid, leaving nothing but ruin in their wake. All the breath whooshed out of him on a single explosive breath.

Tarsus IV. No. That wasn’t possible. Never in a thousand years of living would he tell this man, any man, any being, about the horror of Tarsus. That was a nightmare he’d long ago buried beneath the weight of his unwavering desire to live. Spock was lying. Lying.

“No,” he whispered, tortured for air and unable to breathe.

“Yes,” Spock said, just as quietly. “I would not lie to you about this. Not about anything of importance, but most certainly not this.”

“Liar,” he breathed, backing away rapidly until his back was to the wall. Part of him knew it was only old memories surfacing, old wounds thought healed breaking open again, but a much larger part truly did not care about where these feelings spawned, only that they go. “You’re a liar.”

“You were thirteen,” Spock said, over the harsh buzzing in Jim’s ears. “The famine had come. You were alone; you were a child. It was not your fault. We all do what we must, to survive.”

Hey there kid. Come here. That’s it. Don’t be scared, we won’t hurt you. I have something for you. You hungry?

“You bastard,” he finally got out, “You picked that up from the meld, you – you stole that from my mind, how dare you… I trusted you, I –“

He moved so fast that the room began spinning, or maybe that was him, maybe he was spinning, and the lights were getting dim, and he couldn’t believe he’d thought this man was his friend. No friend of his would look into that part of his life and slap him in the face with it, no friend would taunt him with ugly accusations from his past just because they were trying to prove a point. No one could know what had happened on that colony of horror and death and decay and still look at him, knowing what he was and what he’d done

“Jim. Jim! Be still. Be easy.” Fingers plucked at his wrists, his arm, his face, one brushing easily against his temple, and there was the touch of thoughts not his own, and it was like a switch being flicked. Suddenly he could breath again, and he was back in his quarters aboard the Enterprise, not in the stinking, bloody cell on Tarsus, rotting away even as the planet was rotting and – and what the hell was wrong with him that he kept letting this man mess around in his head!

He pulled roughly away, wrapping his arms around his torso in what he realized was a childish, defensive gesture, but he couldn’t help it. The thought of being touched in that moment was a terribly monstrous thing.

“You’re an asshole, you know that?” He rasped, trying to wrap something like dignity back around his shoulders. “I can’t believe I trusted you. Get out.”

“Jim, it is not at all what you are thinking –“

“Out!” he shouted, stepping forward wildly, fully prepared to use physical force if necessary and damn this old Vulcans age, or wisdom, or breakable bones, he didn’t care, he just wanted him gone.

“Jim, I did not take any memories from your mind. Do you not see? This is what I have been trying to tell you. I have no need to take memories from you; I already know them.”

Panting, Jim could only stare at him, torn between the kindness, the laughter he remembered from that mental excursion of the meld, the sweetness that had so lured him into feeling empty inside himself. And yet there was another feral part of him that insisted that he get this man out of his quarters now, right now, right this instant, before it was too late.

Hell, he thought, dropping his arms, dropping himself back into the chair behind him. It’s already too damned late. A decade too late.

“If that’s true,” he said quietly, staring at the ceiling through the shadow of childhood horrors he’d too long put behind him, “then how can you know the details of what happened to me? The memories you carry happened to another man, another Jim Kirk. How can you be sure that the experiences you think we share are the same?”

“I have no such certainty,” the older man admitted, coming forward and sitting gently beside him. Jim wanted to yell at him, tell him to move away, but he was just too tired to force the issue, and he had no doubt that it would take greater force than he had to offer at the moment. “I only know the depth of pain in you is one I felt in my own captain, and there are only so many explanations that would account for it. A similar experience on the colony of Tarsus IV at the time of Governor Kodos’ mass genocide seemed a logical conclusion to draw.”

“You were bluffing?”

“I prefer to call it – gifted insight.”

Jim laughed. Oh, God. Guessing, the Vulcan had nailed him by guessing when seven earth psychologists, two practicing psychiatrists and three juvenile detention centers had completely missed the point.

“Yeah,” he said finally, staring in defeat at his washed out gray ceiling. “Yeah, I guess it would be only logical.” Honestly curious, he turned his head to regard the other, slightly lopsidedly from his point of view. “How did you get him to tell you? Or did you actually stumble over it accidentally in one of your deeper melds?”

“No,” Spock said. “As I have already pointed out, the meld does not normally act in that fashion. It would have been difficult for us to stumble into that depth of memory accidentally. It is possible that at some point further into our link that may have happened, but by the time that topic was raised between us, I was well aware of the details of your experience on Tarsus.”

How? In twelve years I haven’t told anybody what happened on that God-forsaken planet. You can’t expect me to believe that one day I just woke up and thought, aw shucks, I think I’ll tell Spock today that when I was thirteen I let some pathetic old lecher put his hands on me for a measly piece of –“

“Do not speak of yourself in that way!” Thick fingers, gnarled from age, gripped his shoulders tightly, the Vulcan towering over him as he stared down at him in what was unmistakably anger, almost a rage. Too shocked to protest the hands on his arms, he stared mutely up at the fury on that pale, intent face.

“Jim – my Jim – also spoke as you do, the first time he ever admitted to me the truth of Tarsus. I told him then what I will tell you now, and hope that when you find the strength in yourself to tell my counterpart, he will say to you what I am saying also: it was not your fault. You were thirteen years old. You were not then, nor are you now, nor is any child, to blame for the atrocities that adults choose visit on them in the depths of a perversion we may never fully understand.”

“Oh, I understand it,” Jim said with an ugly grin. “They weren’t the last, you know. On Tarsus, I mean. I don’t know what your Jim Kirk did, or told you, but if he fooled you into thinking it was just the one time, you’ve been sadly duped my friend –“

“No,” Spock said gently, shaking him once roughly. “I am aware that they were not the last. I am – very well aware.” Were those tears in the others eyes? Surely not. If he’d cried for his entire race, who’d died to a madman’s evil vengeance, Jim had never seen it. To be witness to such utter desolation now, and know he was the cause, to know that this man had loved his counterpart so, that that love could be his if only he could find it in himself to reach out to his stubborn, intractable Vulcan First –

He closed his eyes. There was no use thinking about it. Spock had Uhura. What did he need with a washed up cadet playing at being a starship captain, who'd been given the position as default when no one else more capable had been available?

“Tell me,” Jim murmured, because in spite of it all, he still wanted to know.

“It is true that for most your life you told no one of your experiences on Tarsus. It was years into our friendship before you revealed them to me, and I was not –“ A pause. “Well. Perhaps it would simply be prudent to say that, when or if you do tell my counterpart, you should be prepared for something of an unusual reaction. I was – most distressed by the news.”

Jim opened his eyes, grinning into the chagrined ones blinking down at him. “I gave you an emotional kick in the ass, huh?”

“Indeed.”

Jim laughed, feeling the tension ebb away and was glad for it. He felt utterly exhausted, loose and drained of energy. As full of vigor as he’d been this morning, that was how badly he was crashing now. Life just sucked that way sometimes.

“I’m tired,” he whispered.

“I know.” Hands drifted from his shoulders down to his wrists. “Come. I will assist you and then leave you to sleep. It is the least I can do.” Jim allowed himself to be drawn to his feet, maneuvered to his sleeping alcove. The hands removed his boots, but nothing further, and Jim dimly marveled at how well this being did understand him; his desire to be left alone, his need for the privacy and control of his own faculties even in the face of such overwhelming exhaustion.

“Goodnight, dear one. Seek me out when you are ready, and know that I will not push you to speak of things that are not truly meant for my ears. Sleep now.”

“Sleep,” Jim murmured, and then all that was left was dreams.

While revelations of the highest sort were taking place on one half of the ship, on the other half, the Enterprises’ second in command was having revelations of his own.

While his captain had been having dinner with the Ambassador, Spock had been involved in a somewhat more commonplace dinner. It was something of a tradition for he and Lieutenant Uhura to share a meal every third or fourth night, occasionally in one of the mess halls but more usually in one of their quarters. Tonight was, as Nyota had stated, ‘her turn’, and they had enjoyed a quiet meal of vegetable stir fry and salad, a dish Spock had grown rather fond of over his long association among Humans.

They had been friends for well over a year now, and were quite comfortable together; that comfort was what had lead, ultimately, to their foray into more than friendly relations in the past two months. So he was not surprised, though he was grateful, to note that conversation tonight was relatively sparse, and the topics pleasantly neutral. He was far too distracted to participate in anything more complicated, though he would have vehemently denied that fact if confronted with it.

He was in the process of a long internal debate that had vacillated for most of the night, swinging from one decision to another. The logical thing to do would, of course, have been to pick one course of action and maintain it, since attempting to predict innumerable results of hypothetical situations involving human emotions was – essentially impossible. But Spock found that logic did not seem to be serving him well these last few months of his life. Tonight appeared no different.

Earlier in the evening, on his way to his quarters to change out of uniform, he had passed by two people also enjoying what he would soon be participating in. He’d thought nothing of it until he’d been about to round the corner toward the turbolift, and had abruptly realized that the pair he had just passed was, in fact, his captain and – himself. His older self. After swinging around to regard them he also noted that they were not actually enjoying dinner as he’d first surmised, but rather standing with full plates, having yet to sit down, conversing with the people at the table adjacent to them.

And seated at that table were Lieutenant Sulu and Lieutenant Uhura.

Stunned, he’d taken in this unexpected turn of events. His counterpart, whom he had so far avoided this entire mission except for the single encounter the previous night, speaking in low, intent tones to his – to Nyota, and looking between them with a curious expression of consternation on his face, Captain James T. Kirk.

Spock did not ascribe to the Human notion of Murphy’s Law wherein everything that can go wrong will go wrong, but this instance had provided him with a unique opportunity to understand why it was that Humans might feel that it could be so.

He thought about approaching them; he thought about interfering. But as strangely bizarre as the scenario seemed, he also could not see how his added presence would make it less so, and in fact it may make it significantly worse. Instead he waited, in a terrible grip of illogic and indecision, until the two men departed, and Nyota, looking surprised and bewildered, stared after them in confusion until she noticed him standing quite still in the open doorway and smiled at him, a familiar easy smile.

Spock did not smile back and had returned to his quarters with his mind still in a quandary and without any foreseeable ease of his confusion in sight.

Only now, as the dinner between himself and Nyota came to close, did it occur to him that his window of opportunity for information was fast closing. Being as the lieutenant had been present at the time of the event that had spawned this problem, it seemed logical that she could therefore clarify it, a possibility he had been contemplating most of the night. But, as Spock had already surmised, logic did not seem to serve him well when it regarded situations involving his Human shipmates, and he hesitated as he attempted to envision the possible responses to his query.

The strongest point of contention against asking her was, of course, that there was no logical need for him to know. There was no pertinent information that he could gain, no practical motivation behind his curiosity, certainly no danger to the ship, and that was something the captain was more than capable of ascertaining for himself. He dismissed the option of speaking to Jim personally; the last thing he wanted was to inadvertently alert the captain to his involuntary preoccupation.

So there was no reasoning behind his quiet calculations, and no need to ask Nyota about them further. And yet…

And yet, surely gathering information in all forms was always advisable, he considered, and doing so through all available methods was only logical. Abruptly exhausted with the entire affair he decided to set aside rationality for expediency.

“I observed the captain and his guest approach your table during the afternoon meal today. They remained only a few moments. I would be curious to know what was said at that time.”

Nyota paused in the act of gathering their dirty dishes together to throw into the processor for cleaning. She blinked at him in surprise. Spock wasn’t usually prone to prying, not that this could be considered prying, but it wasn’t often he asked her questions of that nature. Even questions as congenial as ‘how was your day’ were a foreign idea to a Vulcan since they served no practical purpose; surely if her day hadn’t gone well she would tell him. Conversational gambits like small talk were usually avoided like the plague.

Curious, she sat down again, setting aside the plate.

“It’s funny that you mentioned it, Spock, because it’s been on my mind all day.”

“Oh?”

“Yes… well, you know Jim Kirk, always with something smart to say. His two cents in the conversation weren’t substantial enough to bear repeating.” She rolled her eyes, a uniquely Human gesture that Spock had noted many of his shipmates used to express impatience or frustration. Strangely effective. “His friend was interesting though. I’ve never seen him before, so I’m not sure how he could have known I’d understand it, but he spoke briefly to me in Vulcan and then he and Kirk left.”

“Spoke to you in Vulcan?” Spock echoed, one eyebrow raising in an involuntary gesture of inquiry. “May I ask what he said?”

“He told me that he was pleased to see me, and that he’d forgotten how beautiful I was.”

Spock felt his eyebrow climb higher, only his impassive face disguising his inner doubt. “He voiced those particular words?”

“Yes. It surprised me, because I’ve never heard a Vulcan compliment a stranger so freely or so – eloquently.”

Emotionally, she meant. The Vulcan language, as with any verbal language, had words designed to describe the senses, but for a Vulcan to use them so freely would have been, not shocking, but certainly unusual. He wondered at his future self’s apparent ease with such words and expressions.

“Was that all that was said?” He asked.

“No, and this is the strange part. We exchanged a word or two about Vulcans’ relocation efforts. Then, as they were leaving, he turned to me and said, and I quote, ‘Until this moment, I had not considered the unexpected ramifications of my actions to others. Confronted with them now, I find that I would not change what I have done, or what I will do; though, I do not do it lightly. But I hope, if my efforts do come to fruition, that in time you might find it in yourself to forgive me.”

Alarm, purely unVulcan and unnaturally strong, cut through Spock sharply. “He specifically asked for your forgiveness?”

“Yeah, it was like he was warning me of some impending threat, but I had no idea what he could mean. I didn’t feel like he was threatening me himself, just that – he knew something I didn’t, and he thought it might come as a shock. It was very strange. What do you think he could have meant?”

“I do not know,” he said, at least somewhat truthfully. Assuming that his future self was aware of the relationship that currently existed between Nyota and himself, there were a variety of meanings that could be attached to his words. But Spock’s Human instincts were clamoring sharply to be heard. The other had implied that it was only through his actions, through the elder Spock’s actions, that something significant might be changed, that some path might be altered. What actions, what path, could those be?

And when he had asked Nyota to forgive him, had he meant himself, or his younger counterpart? There were countless possibilities, all of them dependent on further data; no doubt a Human would have found this eminently confusing, whereas he simply found the scope of the problem endless and disturbing. The only answers he could acquire must come directly from the source and, in truth, Spock simply did not know if he dared risk another conversation with the man who left him so unsettled each time they spoke at any length. Undoubtedly this was a consequence of speaking to someone who had already lived the life he himself was just beginning.

“Are you free tonight Spock?”

Distracted, he barely heard his companion’s question. “No,” he murmured. “I require time to rest and meditate. Goodnight Nyota. Thank you for the meal.” Standing, he bowed to her, in Vulcan acknowledgement, and then pressed his lips to her cheek, in the Human acknowledgement he knew she preferred. Then he took his leave, mind still working away on the issue at hand.

“Goodnight,” she said to his back, and reminded herself that she’d sworn never to ask for more from him that he was capable of giving. Even if, she thought, or maybe especially if, he wasn’t capable of giving anything.


End Chapter Four.


A/N: For anyone who isn't familiar with TOS, Tarsus IV is canon, it did actually happen, and Jim Kirk was there for it as a child. It's only his personal experiences that I've taken fictional liberties with.

Chapter Five
Tags: breaking points, fanfic, star trek
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  • Moving Fanworks

    This is an old journal, and an old place for stories, but nonetheless! :-) Since Livejournal has basically gone the way of the dodo, just wanted to…

  • Time Immemorial - 3/3

    Part 2 "Enter," Spock called. Jim stepped into the Vulcan's quarters slowly, ponderously. It was times like this that really…

  • Time Immemorial - 2/3

    Part 1 They left the Ze'brak system two days later with orders to proceed to Starbase 16. In those two days, Jim set a task for himself to…